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Newsmakers

News/Business. Media personalities discuss current issues.

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mpeg2video

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Russia 33, Us 13, Syria 10, U.s. 7, United States 6, Obama 4, Washington 3, Assad 3, Soviet Union 2, China 2, Benghazi 2, Dana Rohrabacher 2, Edward Snowden 2, John Boehner 1, Halal Edwards 1, Mr. Rohrbacher 1, Blake Houshell 1, Rick Santorum 1, Snowden 1, Mr. Snowden 1,
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  CSPAN    Newsmakers    News/Business. Media  
   personalities discuss current issues.  

    August 11, 2013
    6:00 - 6:31pm EDT  

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leadership conference with remarks by rick santorum and donald trump. after that, president obama's speaking to disabled in orlando, florida. with aq and a" washington post investigative >> our guest this week is dana rohrabacher. he has responsibilities for issues involving russia and also looks at emerging threats. after the big decisions about u.s./russian relations in the summit, we thought it important to speak to him. let me introduce our reporters, guy taylor. blake houshell is the deputy editor of politico. >> my first quonestion is about
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what seems to be topic a this week. the russia subject you are deeply interested in and know a lot about. i am sure you are aware of the news that the white house decided to cancel this upcoming summit meeting between president obama and vladimir putin. i wanted to get your take. i know you have a different view than some in your caucus. >> i think our relation with russia is vital to our own national security. i would say the peace of the world. we have two major threats that we have to deal with if our people are to be safe. one is radical islamic terrorism, which is at our throat right now and murders our
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people. they wish they could murder as many of us as they could. the other threat is an emerging china that is an incredibly totalitarian powers still. we were promised that they would moderate the rate they still have this horrible dictatorship. they would still make some a threat. we have these threats to deal with. we have this administration. we have many republicans as well pushing russia away, still thinking about russia as it was during the cold war. this is no good for the cause of peace or for us. >> is a possible you are being a little naïve? russia is hosting edward snowden. the most damaging leaker in american history.
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>> this is what he did by alerting the american people to over surveillance on the part of our own government, of our population to call him a traitor, he was being loyal to the rest of us by letting the american people know their government was getting out of hand. when our government suggest that it has to keep a record of every phone call every citizen makes in order to protect does, it has gone too far. the fact that russia gave him asylum i think is very symbolic. russia, a country which we attacked, and by the way i was ronald reagan's speech writer for seven years and worked with them almost if not many of his very hard-core speeches
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concerning the soviet union. i worked with the mujahedin in afghanistan fighting the soviet union. during those days, we were against the soviet union because it had too much control and surveillance over its own people. now many of the same people are claiming what the soviet union was evil about we can see in our own society. snowden was just alerting us to our government getting out of hand. russia accepting him for asylum i think was not as hostile and act as it is being portrayed. >> how would you have responded? would you have responded at all? >> i do not think mr. snowden should have had to basically seek asylum in other countries. he booked a contract with his employer to keep his mouth shut.
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that he needs to be held accountable. people would have to decide whether or not his alerting the american will to and over surveillance and reaching way beyond what is reasonable was something he should be punished for. what i would have done in that situation, i would not have attacked president putin himself and treated him like the enemy for granting asylum when we needed his help. look. radical islamic forces are murdering russians every bit as much as they are murdering americans and people in the west. the chinese threatened russia just as much as they are threatening the rest of the world. we need russia on our side for
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us to punch him in the nose right now. it was not the right thing to do. >> wouldn't we be a bit remiss to ignore the fact that this has been on and undemocratic push, kicking out u.s. ngos. and failing every attendee regions of the peaceful resolution resolution to the civil war in syria. it sounds like you are a bit of an apologist for the putin government. >> i think that you can be a patriot and want peace in the world and recognize that it's with russia and partnership with russia is essential to our national security.
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i think you have to be realistic. claiming that russia, the litany you just went down -- >> they have not filed attempts to lead a peaceful resolution to the war in syria. >> let me put it this way. we have no business in syria. it is not an attack on the united states for russia to be involved in supporting a particular side in the syrian war. if they want to dissipate their resources by getting involved, they can do so. that is not an attack on the united states. we should not be involved there. the fact that we are trying to use that not as an excuse against radical islam is nonsense.
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i do not consider myself an apologist at all. i have strong credentials to suggest that i would not let russia off when it is doing the wrong thing. but let me just note back to your question. it was predicated on the idea that putin is taking russia and an antidemocratic direction. it is this cold war mentality, i do not know how much it has been since you have been to russia, theirhe churches are full. opposition parties. you have people engaged in activities that were totally illegal during the communist time. we have those stuck in the old-- mentality
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that they cannot understand that russia is essential to our security and peace if we are going to protect ourselves against radical islam and china. >> i just want to jump in on this story about syria. the new york times reported today that al qaeda leader has been in touch with the front that is by all accounts al qaeda's branch in syria. doesn't that concern you? should that not be something the white house should be worried about and engaged on? >> whose side are they on? the guys who are fighting beside that russia supported? i think that is what you will find. i am not sure. the names i do not know, i do not know every name associated with every group. you will find that the al qaeda connections now are with those forces that are opposing assad and russia is supporting assad. we're supposed to be concerned myut that.that backs up point. stay out of that. we do not need to get involved
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in another iraqi or syria. we have had enough of this. the american people are war weary. that does not go to our national security interests. >> does that mean we should be happy to leave assad in power? >> no. it means we do not have any business determining who is in power and who is not in power in every country of the world and if we do, we are going to break our banks. i backed our president when he sent our troops into iraq. it was the worst mistake i ever made. we are now weaker because we are so engaged in so many distant countries. we should protect our interest when they are at stake. in syria, they are not at stake. >> with all due respect, i asked hard questions of you. >> calling me an apologist is not a tough question.
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it is a pejorative description. >> i appreciate the libertarian flavor of your remarks with regard to this. are you confident that the obama administration has a coherent plan to intervene in syria if it becomes obvious that a large amount of chemical weapons are being used by either side? >> no. even if there are chemical weapons that are introduced, then we should not engage ourselves in military operations in syria. i am afraid people kill and murder each other by the tens of thousands all over the world. we do not need to intervene everywhere. we are not the world's policeman. the fact is we need to maintain a very strong military force so our own security interests are
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taken care of. one of our main elements is to develop relationships with countries like russia who used to be our enemies that can help us combat threats to both of our countries in these days incident trying to look back on what it was like under communism. >> we are halfway through. >> let's talk about al qaeda a little bit more. we saw this week that the administration had decided to shut down embassies and consulates in about two dozen countries because there was this world wide threat from al qaeda. we were not sure where they might attack but there was some strong intelligence indicating that the yemen branch had
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decided to launch some sort of attack against u.s. interests. coming nearly a year after september 11 in the attack in benghazi, do you think the administration got spooked and went too far and closing these embassies? do you think that was showing weakness to al qaeda? >> i would have to suggest this. i was not briefed on that particular alarm. i cannot say whether it was totally justified or not. during 9/11 i was that guy that stood up in the middle and said do not close the capital, that is a sign of weakness. when you're dealing with terrorists, you do not want to give them sign of weak to make them feel so proud that they have made us cowards in the face of their terrorist activity. i am not sure what they were trying to avert.
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it might have been better for us beef up security rather than close down operations in other countries. i have not been briefed on that threat yet. >> speaking of this new, evolving al qaeda terrorism threat. president obama articulated that these new threats are al qaeda offshoots. it was revealed this week that there are federal charges, sealed federal charges against a fellow in libya who is suspected of involvement in last september's attack that killed jake christopher stevens in benghazi. some are saying this
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demonstrates the administration's desire to use something other than drones, specifically the use of u.s. courts to pursue this evolving fight against these localized threat. is that realistic in your mind? how is the united states going to arrest someone like that? without creating a firefight? >> i do not have anything against drone strikes. i think the administration has not been doing a bad job when it comes to using drones to single out and to kill the terrorist who would harm our own people. i have no problem with that. if you cannot send a drone, maybe you could send some kind of a team into a place like libya or cut a deal with the libyan government or pay off the
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libyan government to eliminate this person if we are absolutely sure this person was engaged in a terrorist act. why not? if we know this person was engaged with assassinating -- >> assassinations be made illegal by federal law quite a while ago. [crosstalk] >> sending a drone is legal but sending a guy with a high- powered rifle is illegal. it is that type of nonsense we have got to get over we're going to confront the radical islamic threat that will murder thousands of our people, even hundreds of thousands of our people if they get a chance. we are facing that type of threat.
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you can send a drone but you cannot send a sniper. >> are you concerned about the precedent that the most powerful in regard to using drone strikes to kill people in other countries? >> i will have to say that i think we should use every technology we can to target those terrorists who are murdering innocent, unarmed people in order to terrorize the populations. the rest of the world understands this. if they do not, they are our enemies. just like we did with every type of brutal authoritarian force in the world, we have to confront force with force.
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people say how horrible it is that you killed this guy with a drone and it just happens that this person was murdering women in his own area for not wearing burquas. >> i am just asking the question from the posture of 25 years in the future. i'm wondering if you see any problems with say if the russians wanted to decide if they went to use drones in the republic to go after people they said were terrorists. >> maybe russia has terrorists in their part of the world as well. maybe the people i went to basel recently with steven segall. most people do not even know that 120 children were blown up during a terrorist attack in a school. radical islamic terrorists. they are associated with russia because russia has a number of
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muslim republics with in its jurisdiction. it would not bother me to know that russians are using drones to kill the people who murdered children, those people who took over theaters in russia and have time and again actually gone out and killed innocent unarmed people to terrorize a population. >> i am going to jump in. we have only six minutes left. >> the administration has insisted that it needs the nsa and its spying programs to counter the terrorists. we need to be able to look at few indications and sometimes that means scooping my e-mail subject lines and dates. it may include the leaks.
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that is why it was a debate. aren't you concerned that if you dial back too far on those kinds of programs that the terrorist groups you're talking about going to be able to plan freely and perhaps attack the united states or its interests? >> it is baloney. we have approved the following of terrorist communications from overseas, even those communications that go into the united states. when it comes to phone calls of every single american, they do not need to keep tabs on everyone of us and what we are doing in order to thwart a terrorist attack that has an overseas connection.
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if we want to be 100% safe from criminals we could just get the police to give us the power to tell us everything of what we do and to come up to every house at any time. that is not the way our freedom works. if we get into this type of threat, i would rather see drones overseas than get the rights to our own government to snoop on everything. >> on domestic issues, you are pushing legislation that creates a federal bill that would reflect state laws that basically legalized medical marijuana and push toward the legalization of marijuana.
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do you feel like there's quite a bit of support on the other side of the aisle? where are we at with that? >> that was last session's bill. the bill that i am offering year would say that any state that legalizes marijuana use, the federal government should not then send our federal authorities in to enforce laws of the people of the state do not want. i would say that i do not know how much luck we are going to have and not. i would think this is an appropriate approach to the fact that we have a deficit we have to deal with, spending billions of dollars to try to prevent people from smoking a weed they can grow in their backyard.
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it is absolutely absurd. it is a waste of our resources. we have a limited amount of money we can spend on protecting our citizens from criminals. we have a judicial system, and incarceration system. to spend those valid resources instead of murderers and people and sent them on people who smoke marijuana is a waste of resources. i would hope that my colleagues on the republican side can open up their eyes and understand that that is money. we should be bringing down the deficit rather than spending it on things like this. >> last question. is comprehensive immigration reform going to pass congress this year? >> i do not know. we have to question whether our leadership will cut a deal with
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the democrats and the liberals on this issue. john boehner has listened to those of us who are concerned about it. the fact is this immigration reform is not reforming our immigration system. we have the most generous immigration system in the world. we bring in more immigrants into our country legally than all of the rest of the countries of the world combined. there are millions more that come every year and flood into our country, whether those people who come here illegally should have their status legalized. the american people are speaking with a loud voice. no way are we owing to legalize 20 million new all and the study shows that if we do that within 10 years we are talking about 50 million new people in the united states who are all poor and uneducated.
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that will totally change the political dynamics. it will bring down our economy. it will hurt ordinary americans. we need to rise up and let our representatives know that we're not going to put up with this type of betrayal of american people. one little note. the u.s. is composed of people from every race, religion, ethnic group. we are proud of that. we are proud of the legal immigration system. for us to spend huge amount of our resources on people who come here illegally which would encourage more people to come here illegally is a betrayal of our american family. we should be concerned about our own americans rather than spending our limited resources on people who have come here illegally and thumbing their nose at us by breaking our law
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to be here. >> thanks so much. we are a little overtime. thank you for joining us. dana rohrabacher who is the chair of the subcommittee that oversees europe and others. thank you. >> thank you. >> let me start with our first topic, russia. the congressman called russia vital to our national security. he emphasized how strategically important the relationship. what is the reality of russia's ability to influence our interest globally? >> i think it was very important to during obama's first term. they needed this huge volume of traffic, material and the nation, going into afghanistan to support the war effort. we needed them there. it was important to regulations
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with the medyedev administration. president obama made huge promises about ridding nuclear weapons. one of his priorities was to get that agree to. now i think the reality is there's really not much that we can accomplish with russia together. i think the cancellation of this summit meeting was a reflection that there's not much of an agenda at all. >> the secretary of defense are meeting with their counterparts in russia. conversations continued at a high level. >> a very high level. even all the things i mentioned that were moscow spitting in the eye of washington.
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a lot of these things are largely inconsequential in the long-term relationship. the administration is going to carry on having high level public and back channel communications with russia. we have generally positive relationships. president obama's closest advisers or say what do we really gain from spending a lot of time on russia? >> mr. rohrbacher, you called him a libertarian. >> iteasonable are these? is a really good question. his somewhat knee-jerk ears response to u.s. involvement in syria, saying no matter what the united states should not get involved even if there is wide spread chemical weapons use on either side.
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i think he is respected in washington because he has always been someone you has said things that are on people's minds. in terms of big-time influence in the libertarian party, i am not sure how much there is. >> what about his position on edward snowden? >> that was really interesting. his views are kind of all over the map. he is very hard on immigration as you heard. but then he is holding up and is a hero for exposing the nsa's operations. i was trying to highlight a contradiction. he is concerned about islamic terrorism here is the white house saying we need these to catch terrorism. that is a point where the libertarian ideology really came out. there are not too many people willing to stand up and halal edwards noted as a hero.
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>> what about calling iraq the worst mistake i ever made? >> i do not know that he has said that repeatedly in the past or not. it is sort of the right thing to say. >> that is what i am wondering. has there been a re-visioning of their thinking about what happened there? >> the fallout is what is really driving a lot of the skepticism about u.s. involvement. it is fueling the guys like rand paul who are running against interventionism and come from that same libertarian mindsets. now you have this clash especially in the house between the rand paul mean and the more neocon-ish mean like john mccain who are really pushing for

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